In occasion of Slow Food Nation, the largest celebration of American food in history which began today in central San Francisco, a Declaration for Healthy Food and Agriculture was signed on 25 August to help accelerate the transformation of the present industrialized agricultural system in the US.
Endorsed by academics, students, agricultural institutes, writers, farmers, filmmakers and chefs, the declaration emerged as the movement to establish better food and farming in the US gains continued strength and support from all sectors of society.
The declaration states:
‘We, the undersigned, believe that a healthy food system is necessary to meet the urgent challenges of our time. Behind us stands a half-century of industrial food production, underwritten by cheap fossil fuels, abundant land and water resources, and a drive to maximize the global harvest of cheap calories. Ahead lie rising energy and food costs, a changing climate, declining water supplies, a growing population, and the paradox of widespread hunger and obesity.
‘These realities call for a radically different approach to food and agriculture. We believe that the food system must be reorganized on a foundation of health: for our communities, for people, for animals, and for the natural world. The quality of food, and not just its quantity, ought to guide our agriculture. The ways we grow, distribute, and prepare food should celebrate our various cultures and our shared humanity, providing not only sustenance, but justice, beauty and pleasure’.
There are twelve proposed principles which should frame future food and agricultural policy, ensuring better health and wealth in all countries worldwide. These are:
1.Forms the foundation of secure and prosperous societies, healthy communities, and healthy people.
2. Provides access to affordable, nutritious food to everyone.
3. Prevents the exploitation of farmers, workers, and natural resources; the domination of genomes and markets; and the cruel treatment of animals, by any nation, corporation or individual.
4. Upholds the dignity, safety, and quality of life for all who work to feed us.
5. Commits resources to teach children the skills and knowledge essential to food production, preparation, nutrition, and enjoyment.
6. Protects the finite resources of productive soils, fresh water, and biological diversity.
7. Strives to remove fossil fuel from every link in the food chain and replace it with renewable resources and energy.
8. Originates from a biological rather than an industrial framework.
9. Fosters diversity in all its relevant forms: diversity of domestic and wild species; diversity of foods, flavors and traditions; diversity of ownership.
10. Requires a national dialog concerning technologies used in production, and allows regions to adopt their own respective guidelines on such matters.
11. Enforces transparency so that citizens know how their food is produced, where it comes from, and what it contains.
12. Promotes economic structures and supports programs to nurture the development of just and sustainable regional farm and food networks.